An animal-free method has been included in the OECD test guideline (439 In Vitro Skin Irritation: Reconstructed Human Epidermis Test Method) on July, 22. This method now is approved by the authorities and has world-wide validity. With implementation of this in vitro test the amount of rabbits killed is expected to decrease significantly.

A microfluidic platform on which fragile blood vessels can be fixed was recently developed by Canadian scientists. The device allows to study the factors that promote and sustain cardiovascular diseases. The device could be used to routinely screen drug candidates on viable arteries. This may speed up the drug development process and could reduce animal experimentation.

We are very pleased to have listed over 85 state-of-the-art research groups and companies on our list of working groups. These groups mainly apply or even develop non-animal research methods.

A team of researchers at Columbia Engineering School has developed a new technique to evaluate human stem cells using cell micropatterning — a simple but powerful in vitro tool that will enable scientists to study the initiation of left-right asymmetry during tissue formation, to diagnose disease, and to study factors that could lead to certain birth defects.

Donald E. Ingber, Harward Univ., Boston (MA/USA), and colleagues have created a device that mimics a human lung on a microchip by using human lung and blood vessel cells and combining microfabrication techniques from the computer industry with modern tissue engineering techniques. The ability of the device to predict absorption of airborne nanoparticles and mimic the inflammatory response triggered by microbial pathogens, is a further proof for the concept that „organs-on-chips“ could replace many animal studies.

The "European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA)" a voluntary collaboration between the European Commission, European trade associations, and companies from 7 industry sectors, wants to accelerate the development, validation and acceptance of alternative approaches. The joint initiative announces an award up to 100.000€ to support the development and regulatory acceptance of 3Rs alternative methods.

The actual issue of the AltTox Digest is now available online. Amongst others it includes: The OECD approved a new guideline for an in vitro skin irritation test method; the Human Toxicology Project Consortium announces a workshop; new information about the upcoming 8th World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences (August 21-25, 2011 Montréal/Canada).

A unique patented assay for detecting and quantifying various substances inducing fever (pyrogens), the „PyroDetect System“, simulates human pyrogen-induced fever reactions better than any animal test available on the market. The Europ. Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods confirmed an easy manageability and the reliability of the assay, which now is introduced into the European Pharmacopoeia in 2010 as an alternative to the rabbit test.

In the News column of the current issue of ALTEX G. Krummenacher announces as headline “RUS: The Ural region stops inhumane education”. A formal agreement between Perm State Pharmaceutical Academy and the International Network for Humane Education (InterNICHE) was already signed on February 2010. The Academy is the tenth Russian higher education institute to sign such a contract concerning the introduction of alternatives to animal labs.

Environment minister Margit Conrad supports a research project of Mainz University, which should replace in the long term severe procedures on animals to study malfunctions of the blood-spinal cord barrier, that may occur after physical injuries of the spinal cord.